Instagram: What the Company Has to Say on its Algorithms

In 2015, Instagram, the popular photo-posting app announced a change in the algorithm for displaying the Instagram posts in reverse chronological order. The app adopted a very complex, machine-learning driven line of action. It generated a lot of chaos among users.

When the app began to prioritize the content of one account over another, it caused an uproar. People who used the platform to market their brands demonstrated their displeasure. This gave rise to the question: “why did the app adopt the ranking system?”

Instagram is the most popular photo sharing platform, and is used by millions of people across the world. Users upload their pictures and videos along with Instagram captions on the app. According to Gramlike, the number of people seeking captions is increasing with each passing day. This shows the growing popularity of Instagram.

The company recently organized an information session to answer questions and queries. The session was held at the San Francisco offices. The company threw the light on how the algorithms work.

According to reports presented by TechCrunch, an Instagram user could not see about 70% of the posts by his friends or the brands that they follow and 50% of their friends’ posts. According to the company, after they adopted the new approach, users are now able to see 90 percent of the feeds. The company boasts that users are now spending more time on the app than they used to back in 2016.

The company clarifies that they do not intend to adopt the reverse chronological feed system. They are keener to educate users on everything related to their algorithm.

The company raised the curtain from the factors that affect the feed ranking process. The company has stated the deciding factors for what the user would see.

The company asserts that with the help of machine learning, they filter the posts that are very likely to attract the user. The analysis is done based on the past behavior of the user. Also, the app does not show too old pictures. The users get to see the most recent pictures.

Another factor that influences the posts users see is their interaction with the people in their account. If a user frequently comments or get tagged in the pictures of a specific user, he will get to see their posts more than other posts.

According to Instagram, the frequency of opening the account by a user also determines the posts the user sees. The app will refresh the feeds every time. The number of accounts the user follows also have an impact on the feeds that users see. People who follow many accounts get to see a variety of feeds.

Experts say that the duration for which the user scrolls through the feeds also influences the kind of feeds they see. People who scroll through the feeds for a short duration of time get the relevant feeds on their screen while the users who have a habit of spending more time on the app see many more feeds.

Not just discussing the algorithm, the company also cleared the air about the myths associated with feed generation.

The company clarified that users see every feed from the people they follow. Also, if the users see more photos compared to videos, they will see more photo feeds.

The company cleared that it never prioritizes users on the basis of their activity on Instagram. Every user, whether he posts pictures or videos frequently or not, holds an equal value. The company also considers personal, as well as business accounts equally.

Shruti Gupta

Shruti Gupta is a writer and digital marketing consultant at She has a passion for technology, startups and other business topics. She lives and breathes digital marketing, and has contributed to a number of famous websites. Her aim is to spread her thought-provoking ideas to all generations.